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Slant Pattern: WR Start/Sit – Week 17 – Championship Week

In Adam Thielen we trust? @THEtristancook thinks Thielen can lead you to a championship as he breaks down your WR start/sit decisions in this week’s Slant Pattern!

Hello and welcome back, Nerds! The Dynasty Nerds writers are here to provide you with weekly starts and sits. I will be doing the WR starts and sits for the 2023 season! We, as a group, will be making our recommendations based on weekly consensus PPR rankings from FantasyPros. Here is our squad and the position groups they will be covering to help you each week. Follow, DM, and Tweet us.

We look forward to hearing from you!

QB: Mike Hicks (@dropthemikeff) – Changing the Call

RB: Jake Oliver (@DarthDbacks) – The Cutback

WR: Tristan Cook (@THEtristancook) – Slant Pattern

TE: Steven Pintado (@CoachStevenP) – 12 Formation

FLEX: Evan Brown (@FFEVanlution) – Flex on ‘Em

IDP: Jon Glosser (@Glosser13) – IDP Start/Sit

One thing to keep in mind when making your start/sit decisions, it will ALWAYS depend on who your other options are. The players listed below are WRs that I expect to finish above/below their respective rankings. But it doesn’t mean you need to take them out of (or put them into) your lineup unless your alternatives are worth it.

NOTE: Rankings are based on a 12-team PPR league. So, saying WR2 means top 24, or TE1 means top 12, etc., and are pulled from Fantasy Pros consensus expert rankings.


Before we get into the recap of last week’s picks, let’s go over how I determine the success and failure of my picks: 

  1. Regardless of whether I have a player listed as a start or sit, if they get injured during the game where it significantly impacts their fantasy output, it is ruled a no decision based upon injury.
  2. If a player finishes within a handful of spots of their ranking, either above or below, it is considered a push. 
  3. My goal is always to get all my picks correct. 

However, I consider above 50% a moderately successful week. Let’s get to it.

Last week was a much better week for my picks. My best calls were to ‘start’ Calvin Ridley and to ‘sit’ Terry McLaurin. Ridley finished as WR8, which was 12 spots higher than his ranking. McLaurin finished as WR52, which was 23 spots lower than his ranking. Unfortunately, two of my other ‘starts’ were injured during the early portions of their respective games. Per the aforementioned rules, Jordan Addison and Courtland Sutton are ruled as ‘no decision.’ My other two calls were to ‘start’ Garrett Wilson and Chris Godwin. They finished within a handful of spots of their individual rankings and were therefore ruled as ‘pushes.’ Let’s get to the Week 17 picks…


Terry McLaurin, Commanders – WR 29

Week 16 Stats | WR 52 | FPts: 8.0 | Tgts: 5 | Rec: 3 | Yds: 50 | TDs: 0

LANDOVER, MD – OCTOBER 10: Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17) is tackled out of bounds by New Orleans Saints free safety Marcus Williams (43) during the first half at a NFL game between the Washington Football Team and the New Orleans Saints on October 10, 2021 at the FedExField in Landover, MD. (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire)

My first ‘start’ for the final week is Terry McLaurin against the 49ers. He had a much quieter week last week against the Jets, catching 3 passes for 50 yards. The Washington offense struggled until Jacoby ‘the brisket’ Brissett again came into the game for Sam Howell. He engineered an impressive comeback that ultimately fell just short. However, the offense looked much better with Brissett under center.

This week, the Commanders face off against San Francisco and their stout run defense. The 49ers allow 90.3 rushing yards per game, which is third-best in the entire league. They also allow 222.0 yards through the air per game, which is below average. I expect Washington to have the most success through the air, with McLaurin being a major beneficiary.

Adam Thielen, Panthers – WR 29

Week 16 Stats | WR 26 | FPts: 15.4 | Tgts: 8 | Rec: 6 | Yds: 94 | TDs: 0

Adam Thielen is my next ‘start’ for Week 17. He has quietly been one of the best and most reliable fantasy options in 2023. Thielen currently sits as the WR16 in fantasy points, directly ahead of Davante Adams. He has managed to pull this off despite being on one of the worst offenses in the NFL and with only four scores. Thielen is tied with Michael Pittman Jr. and Chris Olave for the fewest touchdowns among the top-20 fantasy receivers.

This week, the Panthers face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have one of the worst pass defenses in the entire league. They are allowing 257.1 yards through the air on a per-game basis. That is 4th-most in the entire league. Jacksonville also possesses the 11th-best run defense in terms of yards per game. Furthermore, Adam Theilen is the 13th-most targeted wideout in the league. When you put all these factors together, it equates to a much higher level of production than WR29. Fire up Thielen with confidence.

Chris Godwin, Buccaneers – WR 22

Week 16 Stats | WR 28 | FPts: 13.9 | Tgts: 10 | Rec: 6 | Yds: 78 | TDs: 0

My final ‘start’ is Chris Godwin. He is coming off another solid performance last week in which he was targeted 10 times, hauling in 6 for 78 yards. Godwin has quietly had a very strong year with one glaring exception. He only has one score through 16 weeks. His 118 targets are 17th-most in the NFL and only six fewer than his teammate, Mike Evans. His 74 catches are also 17th-most in the NFL and are actually one more than Evans’s. However, his 1 touchdown pales in comparison to the 13 touchdowns for Evans.

This call somewhat goes against the reasoning I have utilized in most of my start/sit decisions. The Bucs are playing the Saints this week. New Orleans has a bottom-10 rush defense and a top-10 pass defense. However, the Saints are without cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Lonnie Johnson this week, which makes their secondary far less worrisome. Furthermore, while the Saints have a porous rush defense, the Bucs have the third-worst rush offense in the NFL. So, I don’t expect them to lean too heavily on the run. I am firing up Godwin with a lot of confidence. He should be a safe play with a significant upside if he can get into the end zone.


Rashee Rice, Chiefs – WR 10

Week 16 Stats | WR 35 | FPts: 11.7 | Tgts: 12 | Rec: 6 | Yds: 57 | TDs: 0

KANSAS CITY, MO – SEPTEMBER 24: Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice (4) runs the ball after a reception during the first half against the Chicago Bears on September 24, 2023 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire)

My first ‘sit’ for Week 16 is Rashee Rice against the Bengals. He has become a much more prominent part of the Kansas City offense since Week 12. During that span, Rice has averaged 10 targets and 7.6 receptions per game. That helped propel him to three finishes inside the top-12 receivers, including a WR3 finish in Week 12 against the Raiders. So, why do I have Rice as a ‘sit’?

Well, there are a few reasons. First, my gripe is primarily with his WR10 ranking. He is ranked above players like Cooper Kupp, Stefon Diggs, and Davante Adams. In my championship matchup, I would much rather rely on players of that caliber than a much less proven player like Rice. Next, the Chiefs have lost three of their last five games, which is highly uncharacteristic. This coincided with Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes’ struggle. I expect Kansas City to show up and use this atrocious Cincinnati defense as a ‘get right’ game. You could do a lot worse than Rashee Rice this week, but I don’t think he’ll be a top-10 option. I would proceed with caution.

Calvin Ridley, Jaguars – WR 20

Week 16 Stats | WR 8 | FPts: 25.8 | Tgts: 9 | Rec: 6 | Yds: 90 | TDs: 2

My last ‘sit’ of 2023 is Calvin Ridley. Last week, he finally had the big week that seemed to be eluding him for much of the season. Unfortunately for Ridley and the Jags, they will be without Trevor Lawrence this week against the Panthers. The drop-off from Lawrence to CJ Beathard is significant enough to make me concerned about Ridley’s production. But that is not all. The Panthers possess the 3rd-best pass defense in the NFL in terms of yards allowed, at 175.9 yards per game. If you’re in the championship game this week, I think you can find a better option than a guy trying to catch passes from CJ Beathard. 

That’s it for Week 17 and the season. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@THEtristancook) if you have any specific questions about who I would start. 

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